Day 175 – Nehemiah 9-11; Psalms 143; Proverbs 30:26–30 Acts 7:1–21

Nehemiah 9-11

1 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month, the sons of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. 2 Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 And they stood in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God, and they were confessing to the Lord and worshiping the Lord their God. 4 Then Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the stairs of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to the Lord their God.

5 And the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God forever and ever! Blessed be Your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise!”

Confession of the Sins of Israel

6 And Ezra said, “You are the only Lord. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to all, and the host of heaven worships You. 7 You are the Lord God who chose Abram and brought him out of the land of the Chaldeans, and gave him the name Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful before You and made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites—to give it to his descendants. You fulfilled Your words, for You are righteous.

9 “You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry by the Red Sea. 10 And in Egypt You showed signs against Pharaoh, against all his servants, and against all the people of his land. For You knew that they acted proudly against them. So You made a name for Yourself as it is this day. 11 And You divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land; and their persecutors You threw into the deep, as a stone into the mighty waters. 12 Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, and by night with a pillar of fire, to give them light on the road which they should travel.

13 “You came down also on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven. You gave to them just ordinances and true laws, good commandments and precepts. 14 You made known to them Your holy Sabbath and commanded them statutes and commandments and the Law by the hand of your servant Moses. 15 You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought them water out of a rock for their thirst. You told them to go in to possess the land which You had sworn to give to them. 16 But they and our fathers acted proudly, hardened their necks, and did not heed Your commandments. 17 They refused to obey, and they were not mindful of Your wonders that You did among them. But they hardened their necks, and they appointed a leader to return to their bondage in Egypt. But You are God, gracious and compassionate, long-suffering, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them.

18 “Even when they made a molded calf for themselves and said, ‘These are the gods that brought us up out of Egypt,’ and worked great provocations, 19 yet in Your manifold mercies You did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of the cloud did not depart from them by day to lead them on the road; nor the pillar of fire by night to show them light and the way they should go. 20 You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst. 21 Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.

22 “Moreover You gave to them kingdoms and You divided nations to them. So they took possession of the land of Sihon, the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan. 23 You also multiplied their children as the stars of heaven and brought them into the land which You had told their fathers to go in and possess. 24 You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they wished. 25 And they took strong cities and possessed houses full of all goods, cisterns already dug, vineyards, olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled, and grew fat, and delighted themselves in Your great goodness.

26 “Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against You, cast Your law behind their backs, and killed Your prophets, who testified against them to turn them to You, and they worked great provocations. 27 Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their enemies, who oppressed them; and in the time of their trouble, when they cried to You, You heard from Your heaven; and according to Your abundant mercies, You gave them deliverers who saved them from the hand of their enemies.

  28 “But after they had rest, they again did evil before You. Therefore You left them in the hands of their enemies so that they had dominion over them. Yet again they cried out to You, You heard from heaven; and You delivered them according to the multitude of Your mercies, 29 and testified against them, that You might bring them back to Your Law. Yet they did not heed Your commandments, but sinned against Your judgments, ‘which if a man does, he shall live by them.’ But they stubbornly turned their backs, stiffened their necks, and would not hear. 30 Yet for many years You had patience with them and testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets. Yet they would not listen; therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. 31 Nevertheless in Your great mercy, You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; for You are mighty and gracious and merciful.

32 “Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, the powerful and awesome God, who keep Your covenant and Your mercy: do not let all the trouble seem small before You that has come upon us, our kings and our princes, our priests and our prophets, our fathers and all Your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until this day. 33 However, You are just in all that has befallen us; for You have dealt faithfully, but we have done wickedly. 34 Neither our kings nor our princes, our priests nor our fathers, have kept Your Law, nor heeded Your commandments and Your testimonies with which You testified against them. 35 For they have not served You in their kingdom, or in the many good things that You gave them, or in the large and rich land which You set before them; nor did they turn from their wicked works.

36 “Behold! We are slaves today! And the land which You gave to our fathers to eat its fruit and its bounty, here we are, servants in it! 37 And it yields much increase to the kings You have set over us because of our sins; also they have dominion over our bodies and our cattle at their pleasure; and we are in great distress. 38 And because of all this, we make a sure covenant and write it; and all our rulers, our Levites, and our priests seal it.”

Those Who Signed the Covenant

1 Those who sealed it were: Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah, 2 Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, 3 Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, 4 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, 5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, 6 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, 7 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, 8 Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These were the priests. 9 The Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the children of Henadad, and Kadmiel. 10 Their brothers: Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, 11 Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah, 12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, 13 Hodijah, the children of Beninu. 14 The leaders of the people: Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, the children of 15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, 16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, 17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, 18 Hodijah, Hashum, Bezai, 19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, 20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, 21 Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, 22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, 23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, 24 Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, 25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, 26 Ahijah, Hanan, Anan, 27 Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.

The Covenant Which Was Sealed

28 And the rest of the people—the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all those separating from the peoples of the land to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding— 29 these, joining with their brothers, bound themselves with a curse and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of our Lord and His statutes: 30 not to give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons; 31 and if the peoples of the land brought wares to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day; and we would forgo the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt. 32 Also we will make ordinances for ourselves to exact from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: 33 for the showbread, for the regular grain offering, for the regular burnt offering of the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the set feasts; for the holy things, for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God. 34 We—the priests, the Levites, and the people—cast lots for bringing the wood offering into the house of our God according to our fathers’ houses, at the appointed times year by year, to burn on the altar of the Lord our God as it is written in the Law. 35 And we made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the Lord; 36 to bring the firstborn of our sons and our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God; 37 to bring the firstfruits of our grain, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all the cities of our servitude. 38 And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse. 39 For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers are; and we will not neglect the house of our God.

The People in Jerusalem

1 Now the leaders of the people dwelt at Jerusalem; the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to dwell in Jerusalem, the holy city, and nine-tenths were to dwell in other cities. 2 And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.

  3 These are the heads of the province who dwelt in Jerusalem. (But in the cities of Judah, everyone dwelt in his possession in their cities—Israelites, the priests, and the Levites, the Nethinim, and the descendants of Solomon’s servants.) 4 Also in Jerusalem there dwelt some of the children of Judah and of the children of Benjamin.

Of the children of Judah: Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, of the children of Perez; 5 and Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Col-Hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Theziah, the son of Shiloni. 6 All the sons of Perez who dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred sixty-eight valiant men.

7 And these are the children of Benjamin: Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jeshaiah; 8 and after him Gabbai and Sallai, nine hundred twenty-eight. 9 Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer, and Judah the son of Asana was second over the city.

10 Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, and Jachin; 11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the leader of the house of God. 12 Their brethren who did the work of the house were eight hundred and twenty-two; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malchijah, 13 and his brethren, heads of the fathers’ houses, were two hundred and forty-two; and Amashai the son of Azarel, the son of Ahzai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer, 14 and their brethren, mighty men of valor, were one hundred and twenty-eight. Their overseer was Zabdiel, the son of one of the great men.

15 Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni; 16 Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, the leader who began the thanksgiving with prayer; Bakbukiah, the second among his brethren; and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun. 17 All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred and eighty-four.

18 Moreover the gatekeepers, Akkub, Talmon, and their brothers who kept the gates, were one hundred and seventy-two. 19 Also the overseer of the Levites was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Micha, of the sons of Asaph, the singers in charge of the service of the house of God. 20 For it was the king’s command concerning them that a certain portion should be for the singers, a quota day by day. 21 Pethahiah the son of Meshezabel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, was the king’s deputy in all matters concerning the people.

Those Outside Jerusalem

22 With regard to the villages within their rural districts, some of the children of Judah dwelt in Kirjath Arba and 23 in Jeshua, 24 and in Beersheba, 25 and their villages, and Azekah and its villages; and they set up tents in Beersheba. 26 The children of Benjamin dwelt around Geba of Michmash, 27 and some of the Levites of Judah were in Benjamin.

Psalms 143

1 By David; against Goliath. Blessed is the Lord my God, Who trains my hands for battle, My fingers for war; 

2 He is my mercy and my refuge, My helper and my deliverer, My protector in whom I hope, Who subjects my people under me. 

3 O Lord, what is man, that You are made known to him, Or the son of man, that You consider him? 

4 Man is become like vanity, His days like a passing shadow. 

5 O Lord, bow down Your heavens and descend; Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke; 

6 Flash lightning, and You shall scatter them; Shoot Your arrows, and You shall trouble them. 

7 Send forth Your hand from on high; Deliver me and save me from great waters, From the hand of the sons of foreigners, 

8 Whose mouth speaks empty things, And their right hand is the right hand of wrongdoing. 

9 O God, I shall sing a new song to You; I shall play to You on a harp of ten strings, 

10 To Him who gives salvation to kings, Who redeems David His servant from the evil sword. 

11 Deliver me and save me from the hand of the sons of foreigners, Whose mouth speaks empty things, And their right hand is a right hand of wrongdoing, 

12 Whose sons are like new plants Matured in their youth, Their daughters beautified, Adorned like a temple; 

13 Their storehouses are full, Bursting forth with abundance on all sides; Their sheep give many births, Multiplying in their streets; 

14 Their oxen are fat; There is no gap in their fence or passage, Nor outcry in their streets. 

15 They call the people blessed, whose lot this is; But rather, blessed is the people Whose God is the Lord.

Proverbs of Solomon 30

26 Now there are four very small things upon earth, But these are wiser than the wise: 

27 The ants, which are not strong, Yet they prepare provisions in the summer; 

28 The rabbits, which are not a strong tribe, Yet they make their own homes in the rocks; 

29 The locust, which is without a king, Yet he marches out as one commanded in an orderly manner. 

30 And the spotted lizard, which supports himself with his hands and is easily caught, Yet he dwells in the fortresses of kings.

Acts 7

Stephen’s Defense

1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?”

2 And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,

3 and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’ 

4 Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell.

5 And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him.

6 But God spoke in this way: that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years.

7 ‘And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’ 

8 Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.

9 “And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him

10 and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

11 Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance.

12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.

13 And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to the Pharaoh.

14 Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, seventy-five people.

15 So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers.

16 And they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.

17 “But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt

18 till another king arose who did not know Joseph.

19 This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live.

20 At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father’s house for three months.

21 But when he was set out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son.

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